Mayan warfare

A Mayan army overrunning a city

For many years, historians thought that the Mayans were very peaceful and would spend their time doing astronomy and other peaceful arts rather than warfare but a 9.5 km long piece of earthworks at Tikal [a Mayan kingdom and a city] showed that warfare was a part of Mayan politics. Mayans usually used guerrilla warfare, ambush, raiding and traps [this was a spot of annoyance for the conquistadors] but if there was a battle it started with the sound of drums and horns followed by the two armies advancing towards each other and hurling projectiles then they attacked each other and discipline broke up. Soldiers were part time and most people never saw combat except if it was overthrowing a king.

The Mayan Conquest

Like most Mesoamerican cultures the Mayans got conquered by the Spanish, but the Mayans gave a harder time because they had many leaders and there wasn’t one emperor to topple. The first interaction between a European and a Mayan is when Columbus’s brother scouted an island off the coast of Honduras and met a Mayan trader. The next interaction was when the Conquistador Hernan Cortes stopped on his way to Mexico. After that a line of explorers came until Hernan came to conquer it in 1519. At that time, it had loads of kingdoms fighting each other. The last kingdom [Kingdom of Itza] fell to the Spanish in 1696.